Classy Fearless Samurai ready to win the Lotto
FEARLESS SAMURAI's Jamaica Derby credentials are on the line in this afternoon's 10-furlong Lotto Classic Governor's Cup, giving weight to 12 rivals, including MARKET FORCE, who he only beat by a half-length at a mile in April's 2000 Guineas.
Unless far better than the opposition, Guineas winners are usually made to bypass the Governor's Cup by their connections. They shy away from the 10-furlong race in which stakes-winning three-year-olds such as FEARLESS SAMURAI carry topweight 57.0 kilos and other runners as low as 50 kilos.
However, there is a quiet air of confidence in champion trainer Wayne DaCosta's camp, especially jockey Omar Walker, who has been sweating his Derby choice - FEARLESS SAMURAI - or his 1000 Guineas-winning stablemate, the flying filly, SHE'S A MANEATER.
Were the Governor's Cup a mile, even the most sceptical purist would be prepared to look past topweight 57.0 kilos, considering his April 29 fast-time victory against open allowance horses.
However, with the additional two furlongs thrown in, the likes of MARKET FORCE (53.5), SOTOMAYOR (55.0), HENRY THE SECOND (50.0) and another of DaCosta's three runners, RADICAL (50.0), are automatic dangers with lighter weights.
Richard Azan's MARKET FORCE has been galloping in the mornings with stablemate JAMAI RAJA, a staying sort, who placed fourth in last December's Diamond Mile behind SEEKING MY DREAM, BIGDADDYKOOL and HOUDINI'S MAGIC.
Azan has decided to hand Shane Ellis the ride, an automatic weight increase of eight pounds on the 110 that MARKET FORCE was allotted, claiming paucity in the jockey's colony of a suitable rider.
Meanwhile, Anthony Nunes' SOTOMAYOR, who had stunned SHE'S A MANEATER in December's Jamaica Two-Year-Old Stakes but went sour in two races after, appears to be regaining form after finishing fast for third in last month's 2000 Guineas.
HENRY THE SECOND is one of the most interesting entries in the event. He looks to have come on a ton in the five months he was missing, returning on April 22 to score a 15-length win against maidens at 1500 metres. He was only beaten a length-and-a-half on debut as a two-year-old by FEARLESS SAMURAI at 1400 metres and had SOTOMAYOR three lengths behind in third.
Trainer Ian Parsard shipping in Panamanian Dick Cardenas from the United States to partner HENRY THE SECOND points to his connections' confidence.
Not to be underestimated for a second is RADICAL, generally seen as a second-tier horse but one who will stay forever, especially at 50.0 kilos.
However, FEARLESS SAMURAI improving his 2000 Guineas time, 1:40.2, to 1:37.4 three weeks later, suggests he is an improved horse. DaCosta explained that he had been idling after going clear in previous races, a veiled reference to the Guineas in which he was three lengths in front a furlong out, though winning by only a half-length.
What is key to note in FEARLESS SAMURAI's preparations is that after blazing 1:12.3 for six furlongs last week Tuesday, DaCosta eased off the throttle on Monday, an easy 1:15.3, saving gas for the big day.